THE HISTORY OF "ST. STEPHAN" CHURCH


The wake of this Church is "St. Stephan" (celebrated on December 27th) even if initially its wake was "The Ascension". At present, the priest in service is the Cârlan-Ungureanu Constantin.

The Church was built in brick, covered with tiles. The date of its errection is the year 1768, month September, day 25th, by Squire STOICA as carved on the outside stone inscription at the entrance. There are historical affirmations that point as founder of the church the phanariot voivode Stephan Racovitză with his wife Lady Teodora in the year 1764.



THE STONE CARVED INSCRIPTION:
"God, you who sanctify those aspiring to your house decoration and glorify your holly power, receive this Church to glorify your Name, being built up to feast Jesus Resurrection and archdeacon Stephan, by your slave, Squire STOICA. And it was built during the reign of Alexandru Ioan Ghica Voivode and holly metropolitan of Ungro-Valahiei KIRU-KIR Grigorie, on September 25, PISAR RADU LOGOFĂT and carvener IOAN, in 1760 year."

The tradition says that the Church was built by Voivode Stephan Racovitză who ruled in Muntenia between 1764 February 7, and 1765, August, 29. All historians mentioned Stephan Racovitză the Voivode as founder of the church. Of course, all of them relied on The historical Magazine of Romania's Archieves I, page 12 that reminded that on 19th May 1765 Stephan Racovitză the Voivode dedicated to Metropolitan Church the church of Gherghita and Saint Stephan church from Bucharest with all their income. The same mention is done in the volume Racovitză - Cehan Family Genealogy and history by general M. Racovitză - Cehan. The same mention is published in 1942 by the Romanian Academy in "Studies and Research".

This idea is also supported in "History of Bucharest" pag. 147-148 by Gh. I. Ionescu Gion in 1899 who reminded that at the wealth of the Metropolitan Church during Cozma I Metropolitan (1787-1792) were added also 20 sketes with lands, houses, gardens and wineyards outside Bucharest and in Bucharest it had beside other churches also St. Stephan Church in Cal. Călărași street. This mention is written in metropolitan Register no. 5 of metropolitan fund and in Register no.3 pag. 365 of Metropolitan Church Registers found at the Romanian Academy and State Archives.

Taking into account the church stone carved inscription, and the documents regarding the Founder of Church St. Stephan, it could be said that it was started by Stephan Racovitză Voivode in 1764 and finished by Squire STOICA who put the foundation inscription at the entrance in 1768.

Though simple looking, St. Stephan Church is however interesting as architecture, because few changes were done, without modifying its old character. It is built in Brancovan style, with an open veranda on columns sustaining semicircular arcades, with polygonal tower on narthex, to which the access is done by a hexagonal tower annexed on north façade of the church.

Of the old stone adornments of the church there remained only one floral element carved in stone, incrusted in the outside wall of the holly Altar and north apse. Of the wooden sculptures the imperial doors, lateral doors of the iconostasis , the bishop throne and the iconostasis are still preserved, but they were taken in 1916 by the Historical Monuments Commission and deposited in an unknown museum.



The imperial icons - 1809 and those of St. Stephan, embedded in silver -1811, are original and were painted by Radu Zugravu (painter) at the church construction.

The church still preserves under many layers of paint the old frescoes similar to those of Stavropoleos Church.

The painting inside dates back to 1806 and it was executed on the old frescoes of Tache Ionescu, student of Gh. Tattarescu's painting school. The name of this painter was discovered in 1952, while Ion Bojogescu was priest in service, under the right part of the nave painting of DESISI, at the first stall of the wall.

The frescoes on the veranda were discovered in 1992 during the restoration made by the painter Popescu Mollda.

A new cleaning of soot of of the paintings on the nave and the narthex was done in 1990, without intervention on paint or frescoes.

The value of the church as a historical monument is reflected also in the outside painting of the 30 medallions where are painted beside the patriarchs of the Old Testament, prophets, apostles, angels and faces of classical culture ancient philosophers (SIBYLS DELFICA, PERSICA, Plato and Aristotle) slightly unusual for our country, as seen in churches of Voronet Vatra Moldoviţei, Humorului, the Chapel of Arch-episcopate Rm. Vâlcea, Misăuţ I of Suceava, the Church of Spineni Olt, village VINEŢI.

In Bucharest it’s the only church left with SIBYL and philosophers, because the Church with SIBYL on Calea Moșilor lost these unique paintings after the restaurations done in 1970 and due to weather conditions.

The frescoes on these medallions were covered by painter Popescu Mollda in 1992 with the same figures in tempera, leaving a couple of original medallions too.

The church burnt for the first time in 1832 [see Frederick Damme's book "Bucarest en 1908"] and for the second time in 1847 when 12 churches and 13 districts in Bucharest were burnt (see the "Memorial of the Great Fire" by Anton Pann (Bucharest 1854).

From the church archive (dated 1890) we can find out the repairs that the church underwent. Thus in 1868 when the wooden cupola under the nave was added, the veranda was closed with a wall and it was covered with metallic plate, and a vestibule was added in front of the veranda.

During 1916-1922 under the supervision of the Historical Monument Commission and the historian Nicole Iorga a major repairing was done that brought the church its original look back.Thus the added cupola was demolished, the veranda was opened, the church was covered with tiles, the outside walls were plastered and the profiles of the cupola were pulled outside as it can be seen also today, replacing the old stone border of the entrance door and of the windows, with simple stone borders.

In 1909 the brick temple was replaced (of the one today made in oak, carved by Ion Babic). It was not until 1927 that the two inside columns initially made in brick were replaced with two columns in stone from Câmpulung, giving it a stronger resistance to the wall between the nave and narthex and the brick cupola.

Because the last major repairing was done between 1916-1922, and the 1977 earthquake demolished the cupola on the narthex, the priest in service, Ion Bojogescu succeeded in reconstructing the cupola and making a new estimation to bring the painting at the initial condition, by restoration. Unfortunately he passed away in 1985 and it was impossible to continue the project.
In the drafts of that project the 5 big cracks on the walls can be seen. Unfortunately the funds gathered in the parish cannot sustain the necessary restoration work.

Săpt. 28
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Luca XVI, 1-9


Zis-a Domnul pilda aceasta: era un om bogat care avea un iconom; şi au pârât pe iconom către el că-i risipeşte avuţiile. Deci l-a chemat şi i-a zis: ce este aceasta ce aud despre tine? Să-mi dai socote ... Citeşte mai mult »

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NEWS


În biserica Sfântul Ştefan - Călăraşi - Bucureşti se află şi părticele din moaştele Sf. Ioan Gură de Aur (sau Zlătarul) (13 noiembrie şi 30 ianuarie), Sf. Haralambie (10 februarie) şi Sf. Grigorie Teologul (25 ianuarie şi 30 ianuarie). Acestea au fost aşezate cu mare cinste şi închinare, într-o nouă raclă, în data de 20 iulie 2013.



Tot aici se află şi icoana Sf. Ioan Botezătorul care a aparţinut Mareşalului Ioan Antonescu şi care a fost purtată în fruntea oştirii Române la trecerea Prutului, până la Odessa.



10 mai 2015, Termoli, Italia - moment istoric: slujba arhierească românească la moaştele Sf. Ap. Timotei (ucenicul Sf. Ap. Pavel), cu participarea Preasfinţitului Părinte Siluan - Episcop ortodox al Italiei şi Preasfinţitului Părinte Timotei - Episcop ortodox al Portugaliei şi Spaniei.



2016 - Anul omagial al educaţiei religioase a tineretului creşin ortodox şi Anul comemorativ al Sf. Ier. Martir Antim Ivireanul şi al tipografilor bisericeşti.



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